Posts Tagged ‘present’
I have to admit that one of the best therapies I’ve ever encountered is one that has never cost me a single cent. And good news—this free therapy is available to everyone reading this. One need only visit their nearest shopping mall and find the mall map. Then locate the portion of the display that says, “You are here.” Because guess what? You are here. Period.
Often, we linger in the past (at least mentally)—replaying past decisions, past circumstances and even past failures (or at least incidents that we classify as failures). But spending too much time looking into the rearview mirror can inhibit not only our present state, but also our state of mind.
It all comes down to clear thinking. And that often starts with accepting what was—along with accepting that there’s no going backwards and changing it. So to debate or belabor what happened is really a mute exercise.
Sounds simple, right? But many of us (myself included) spend too much time wondering why things happened the way they did… And why we responded or reacted certain ways (often wanting to change everything that’s already transpired—and, therefore, cannot be altered). Even though there’s no time machine that we know of, we often live life as if we’ve lost the keys to one—as if we might have the capability to un-do something or somehow make it right.
But no matter how many times we replay past events or decisions in our heads, they are never going to be undone. So the sooner we swallow hard and move on, the better. And yes, this theory can apply when we’re the (so-called) victims of circumstance as well.
Recently my spouse was laid off for no apparent reason (other than the new go-to word for being laid off, “rightsizing”)—despite being one of the company’s top performers. Boy, have I wrestled with this situation in my head… Wanting to know why it happened—or if there was someway we could have played things differently so that it wouldn’t have happened. But guess what? None of this mental clutter changes anything. Time to look for a new job. And any kind of “Woe is me” or refusal to let go (AKA “accept”) simply hurts our family and us. We are here. Like it or not.
And speaking of the “like it” part, you don’t necessarily have to like it. But still, you are here. You’re not anywhere but here. So no matter what you’re facing (whether a medical issue, breakup, job-related or financial issue or the 1,000th time you might be committing to losing some excess weight and getting healthier), the sooner you accept that you are here, the sooner you can take the first step into what can be the next great chapter of your life.
Again, I know this all sounds very simple. Some might suggest it’s even trite. But I promise that carrying around this mental reminder that the past is in the past and the future is in the future and that staying present offers us the clearest mindset (and, therefore, the clearest decision making capabilities) can be helpful. No matter what’s transpired… No matter what you’re facing… No matter how unfair… No matter if it was self-sabotage… Repeat after me: We. Are. Here.
And with a mental state of acceptance, here can be full of as many opportunities and possibilities as we allow it to be.
I recently caught a repeat viewing of Oprah Winfrey‘s Super Soul Sunday featuring Ali MacGraw, who at age 75 radiates beauty from the inside out. While I found so many of her life lessons (shared generously and modestly from her heart) resonated with me, I was especially moved by this quote:
“Living In the present and finding what’s good about it is how I want to be alive. I do not want to sit in some rewrite of the past or invent the what’s going to happen story. And it’s a big discipline. I think everything that I do is tryouts by to make that be the way I live and sometimes I actually succeed.”
I especially love how Ms. MacGraw keeps her sense of humor about all of it — and owns every life lesson she’s learned (even the ones learned the “hard way”). I love that Ms. Winfrey and OWN are bringing us these nuggets of wisdom. And I especially love being able to pass along some of these gems to you. After all, we’re all in this journey called “life” together.
Do you have any favorite quotes or ideas about staying present and living in the moment? If so, I’d for you to share in the comments section or via the contact page. (Thanks!)
Photo Source: OWN
A special guest post from Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD
Recently, I read a story by Gregg about his struggle to tame his desire for one of my favorite foods, peanut butter. As is his style, he shared with great honesty the challenge it was for him to control his eating of the sticky delicious spread. It made me want to share some ideas for controlling portions and tips on how reframing how we think about a food can change how we treat it. I hope these tips will provide you with some tools for your toolbox in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy life.
It’s just food. Remember, food isn’t “good” or “bad.” You may feel like they are out to get you, but the truth is that feelings aren’t facts. You are in charge and have the ability to control what you put in your body. Yet, there’s no need to carry around shame about what you’ve already eaten. Take each eating opportunity as a fresh start to do it right-er.
Know how to spot a single-serve portion. If you buy tempting foods in larger containers, separate them into smaller ones. Measure or weigh out the portions, since sometimes what we think is a serving, really isn’t. Alternatively, buy single-serve or pre-packaged foods that can help make it easier to control the amount you eat. For instance, peanut butter can be purchased in single-serve to-go style squeeze packets – perfect for tossing in your bag with some rice cakes for an afternoon snack, squeezing right onto an apple, or making that perfectly portioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Save that food for eating out or special occasions and get the smallest size offered. My treat food is fried potatoes. Seriously. I love really good French fries, crispy hashbrowns and potato chips. I almost never have these at home, where I eat >70% of my meals. Instead, these are a treat food that I have occasionally when I eat out with friends or for date night. By enjoying this food outside the house, I’m not tempted to eat it more often than I should.
Do distraction. When you’re feeling the tug, it’s time to do something else. Try drinking a glass of water, taking a walk, or calling a friend. Taking your mind off of the food and nourishing some other part of you – thirst, physical activity, or connection – may be just enough space to reduce the temptation or eliminate it completely.
Pay attention. When you do eat the foods you love, be present. Usually, the first few bites are the best. Take time to savor them and enjoy them. Don’t eat (at all if possible, but especially special foods) when you’re doing something else, such as typing at your desk, driving your car, or anything else that requires most of your attention. When you are more mindful of the food you eat, you eat much less.
Now, as far as the peanut butter goes, I can’t leave you without some thoughts on that one. Peanut butter is a wonderfully versatile and flavorful food. It’s also nutritious! Unlike my fried potatoes, which have far less to offer in that area, peanut butter provides protein, fiber, mostly good fats, and 30 vitamins and nutrients. It can be used in everything from my favorite PB&B (banana) sandwich to homemade breakfast peanut crunch bars, or a spicy peanut dipping sauce for lean grilled chicken skewers. Peanuts have more protein than any nut and are a deliciously satisfying food to enjoy. Check out our website at www.nationalpeanutboard.org for more ideas.
About the Author: Sherry Coleman Collins is a registered and licensed dietitian practicing in the Atlanta, GA area. Her love of food and nutrition has allowed her to work with individuals and groups, children and adults of all ages, and in a variety of settings from clinical to foodservice to communications. She currently serves as senior manager, marketing and communications for the National Peanut Board. Connect with America’s peanut farmers via Facebook and Twitter. Follow Sherry on Twitter at @PeanutRD.